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Catholic Health calls for delay in embryo research bill


The introduction of legislation allowing research using human embryos should be delayed until the facts are clear about the usefulness of adult stem cells, according to Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan.

Mr Sullivan made the call on Friday in response to the findings by researcher Catherine Verfaillie of the University of Minnesota, published in the scientific journal Nature, that show adult stem cells could prove as versatile as embryonic stem cells.

He said that while research into the use of stem cells will be ongoing, the findings published last week can't be ignored and the draft legislation should be amended accordingly before it is released in parliament this week.

"There is a lack of scientific certainty surrounding these complex issues", Sullivan said. "As a matter of law and public policy this legislation is predicated on the deliberate destruction of human life.

"[The] findings point the way to a more ethical solution to the illnesses and disabilities which are central to the debate on stem cell research so far," he said. "The nature of this legislation demands a process that allows for full consultation, complete transparency and full accountability. Lets get all the facts on the table before this legislation is introduced."

"Embryonic stem cell research destroys human life and creates a dangerous precedent where one stage of human life is given priority over another."

LINKS
New research flames stem cell debate (transcript ABC Radio The World Today)
Stem cell hopes double (Nature)

SOURCE
CHA

24 Jun 2002